Prior to going to South Africa, I spent a great deal of time thinking about what it is that makes a great entrepreneur, and specifically what makes Richard one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. Having spent time with him in South Africa I can attest to the fact that nothing excites Richard more than a great adventure. Certainly he’s intelligent and great with people, but he is simply obsessed with exploring the great unknown and expanding his boundaries. Everyone is excited by the glory of being a successful entrepreneurial leader, but to enjoy the process of getting to that point, you must have this drive to venture when no man has gone before, and defy those who say you’re crazy to do so!
I believe that in Richard’s life, his adventurousness laid the seed for the great empire that he has today, but his views on corporate culture and his understanding of what drives people is what has allowed him to build such a thriving group of companies. As a leader, you depend heavily on great people to carry forth your vision, and in order to do that you need a clear understanding of what brings the best out of people. This philosophy is at the heart of Richard’s leadership style.
More specifically, he stresses the importance of building great teams and developing the skill of delegation, so that you, as a leader, can be free to focus on the bigger picture. He emphasises the importance of commending people on their good work as well as removing any barriers in ‘traditional corporate culture’ that may impede people’s spirits and enthusiasm for what they do. He is strongly against neckties as they are a symbolic representation of unnecessary and useless rules in today’s work culture. He is also strongly against the nine-to-five office culture and believe people should work in arrangements that inspires them most. He himself works from his beautiful island, often sitting in his hammock.
In a nutshell, Richard is where he today because he ventures the great unknown in defiance of conventional wisdom and he does not venture it alone, instead he inspires others to journey with him on his quest.
My name is Sarah, and I’m the new member of the Raise5 team. I can’t express enough how excited I am about my new role and goal at Raise5 and what this would mean for all of the supporters.
With an extra pair of hands on board, I hope to bridge communications between the organizations and their supporters who use our site. I also aim to reach out to more organizations and help people learn more about what Raise5 could do for their company.
But this is not just my job description, Raise5 is my passion. Because past the personalized storefronts for users and organizations and past the cute groundhog mascot detailed with splashes of orange and brown, there’s a lot of heart that goes into this company. I was amazed at their genuine interest in the success of everyone who joins our community, and I hope that I will be able to help our members in their own journey towards their goal.
This week marks six months since we won Sir Richard Branson’s Screw Business as Usual contest. Virgin Unite invited us to blog about our journey so far. It was a great experience taking stock of the challenges we’ve faced and the lessons we learned over the last six months. This is something we don’t always have time to do properly so we were grateful for the amazing opportunity to do so. Head on over to the Virgin Unite blog here to read the post and feel free to leave a comment.
Since our win we’ve been working hard to improve the site’s structure and look to make it easier for community members like you to raise money for the causes you love. Some of the changes we’ve made recently include:
We’ve simplified the homepage to make it easier to get around. Check it out and let us know what you think.
We want to help unleash the fundraising potential of nonprofits on our site and so created a brand new page devoted to the fundraising community.
You can now browse through the Raise5 marketplace by charity. If you can’t find your favourite cause, feel free to share the nonprofit page with the organization and encourage them to sign-up so you start supporting them on Raise5.
We’ve also dropped the $5 price limit on the things you choose to sell or share on the website. You can now set your own prices and raise even more money for the cause or organization you’re passionate about. Click here to learn more and get started.
Our community is growing every day and this means there’s an even wider range of talents and skills being offered to help raise money for the causes that people truly care about. Come join us on our Facebook page and give us a like if you’re so inclined. You can also follow us on Twitter @Raise_5. We try to post a variety of content on our social media channels so it’s worth checking them all out. We love getting feedback from our community members so please don’t hesitate to drop us a line, a tweet or a facebook post.
Did you know the average honey bee will actually make only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime? We didn’t know either until we heard Brenda Palms-Barber speak at a session organized by Depaul’s Social Enterprise Collabrative.
Brenda didn’t plan on becoming a social entrepreneur or starting a honey business. However, as the head of the non-profit North Lawndale Employment Network in Chicago, her efforts to convince local businesses to hire her unemployed clients was proving quite difficult. The reason: approximately 57% of the adult population in North Lawndale have a criminal record and employers just weren’t comfortable giving “returning citizens” as she puts it, a second chance.
Since nobody wanted to hire her clients, Brenda set out to employ them herself by creating a sustainable enterprise that would. After brainstorming several business ideas (which included a landscaping company and even a delivery service for seniors), a friend of Brenda’s introduced her to the art of beekeeping. This led to the founding of Sweet Beginnings LLC, an honey farming business that trains and employs locals, sells honey farmed in an urban environment and also sells a line of amazing honey-infused beauty and skin care products. The best part: Less than 4% of participants in the program have returned to prison, compared with a national average of 65%.
We definitely think Brenda’s on to a sweet and sustainable solution and we agree with her when she says that this model can be “pollinated” to other regions and cities that face the very same issues as North Lawndale. At Raise5, we admire Brenda’s leadership and we share her vision of making an impact in this world by coming up with creative solutions to what at first may seem like an unsolvable problem. Check out Sweet Beginning’s store here, and feel free to browse the awesome skills and talents being shared by the Raise5 community to support great causes here.
This weekend we were honoured to attend a benefit to support the work of The School of Choice(L’ecole de Choix) located in Haiti. The school began instruction in October 2011 and currently educates over 180 children in six grade levels, from pre-kindergarten through to the fourth grade.
A little about this amazing institution:
• Offers academic instruction in English, French and Creole;
• Provides quality education through certified teaching staff;
• Seeks to develop committed, effective, educated and professional leaders for Haiti’s next generation through a focus on ethical decision-making and critical reasoning skills; and,
• Provides its students with a technology lab, schoolbooks, a safe environment, snacks and school meals and access to a full-time nurse that provides health services onsite.
All in all, the evening’s activities raised over $115,000 US, which will allow l’Ecole de Choix to continue it’s mission to help their students become socially-responsible leaders of tomorrow.
It was an amazing, well-run event and really got our wheels turning about what the Raise5 community can do to support important projects like this one. Raise5 will be working closely with L’ecole de Choix to help further boost the amount raised from the benefit - Stay tuned for more details!
As many of you know, World Food Day was on Wednesday, commemorating the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which has led international efforts to stem hunger and malnutrition since 1945. In 2010, there was an estimated 925 million undernourished people in the world – And this number has surely increased since then. While world hunger is nothing to celebrate, those organizations, businesses and individuals who are working hard to end it are definitely worth a nod!
There is one organization in particular we wanted to share with you guys. International Development Enterprises (iDE) is a social enterprise with a core focus on giving back. They are dedicated to ending poverty by unleashing the potential of the rural poor through market based solutions. Our friends at Virgin Unite support their work as well. Check out this great video featuring Veronica, a Zambian smallhold farmer, as she talks about what iDE has enabled her to do with her farming business and her ability to ensure her family’s well-being and food security needs are met.
As you can see in the video, iDE creates income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households by helping farm families access the tools and knowledge they need to increase their income. It really is amazing to see the principle of ‘business as a force for good’ in action. At Raise5 we embrace this principle and iDE’s use of market forces reminds us of what we’re trying to do with our online marketplace by harnessing supply and demand amongst service providers and donors. It’s really great to know we’re in such good company!
You don’t need to be a massive social enterprise or international institution to help end world hunger. Some of our amazing Raise5 community members are also donating their time and talents to help raise money to support food security. Click here to check out some highlights and start supporting this worthwhile cause today
There is always a point during the fall season when the pace of life seems to speed up and we’re pulled in different directions trying to get everything we need to do done. This is never more true than when you’re in school, especially when you’re also juggling work and other commitments. Whether you’re tackling a bunch of midterm essays, applying for law school and the deadline is soon approaching, or you’re balancing your job hunt and all of your applications are due at once - Sometimes all you need is a little helping hand to provide you with some quick support so you can cross at least one thing off your list.
At Raise5, you can get some great help with editing and proofreading your assignments, cover letters, graduate school applications and any other writing you need some feedback on. And while you get the support you need to help you move forward, you will be giving your support to a great cause helping others move forward. How’s that for a mutually beneficial exchange?
Check out some of the great writing support services offered by our Raise5 community members:
Since our first encounter with Chuck Templeton, we took note of his unique goatee. Along with his entrepreneurial success, his beard is a very defining feature of who he is. This is what made him a great candidate for a “hair portrait,” a unique style of portrait art pioneered by Stephanie Barstow where only the subject’s hairline and facial hair is drawn. When asked why Stephanie goes out of her way to provide her work on Raise5 she said:
“I was an art major. And one thing my professor reiterated to me over and over again is to never stop making art, despite how busy you get… I’m always striving to make new art, despite my busy schedule.”
Stephanie is the essence of Raise5, she is a talented person who refuses to give up on her love of art, and with the Raise5 community buying her services with a charity donation, she has a reason to keep on doing what she loves. Raise5 takes her raw talents and turns it into a valuable service for the buyer, money for charity, and revenues for Raise5. Now that’s an arrangement that has everyone smiling.